I’m pleased to share with you my third income report for July, after the great response to my first income reports in May and June.
I include how much money and time I am spending on my two businesses, along with goals and the tasks I have done to increase my income.
My first post ‘How much money I have, make and need’ really dug deep into my current financials, expenses, living situation and general circumstances. So if you haven’t read that yet, it’s a good place to get acquainted with me!
How I spent my time this month:
The beginning of the month felt, for want of a better word, relentless. Phil was away working again and I had so much planned both in the day and evenings, by the end of the month I was shattered.
betternotstop definitely took a back seat in the first few weeks while I continued to struggle with managing the shop and the commitment of having to be open six days a week.
As a result, at the end of the month, I made a huge business decision to close my Shop in Afflecks and move to a Studio Space!
Despite the high workload, I did have some wonderful social highlights. I was able to go to both Matt Haig and Holly Ringland’s respective book launches in Manchester – both wonderfully uplifting stories and events. I also went to Bluedot Music Festival for the day with friends and saw the Chemical Brothers live for the first time!
I was also excited to go to the Czech Republic for a week to revisit Prague and also to attend TBEX Ostrava, a brilliant travel conference. It was a great way to meet other people in the industry, and I came away buzzing full of new ideas and ways in which to grow my blog and business.
I also was interviewed for the Award Winning Tough Girl Podcast about my trip to Bhutan. This was great for promotion and made me very keen to do more podcasts as I love chatting with people!
Have a look at how I spent my time, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Although I published no articles (I am so embarrassed about that!) I did do the following:
- 5 Hours in Meetings
- 4 Days at a Networking event (TBEX Ostrava in the Czech Republic)
- 3 Days Travel Research in Prague and Ostrava for articles.
- 6 Hours on Emails
- 4 Hours working on Event planning
- 3 Hours on socials
- 3 Hours on Newsletters
- 4 Hours on Marketing work
My stats reflected the lack of work done well this month…
- 254 Page Views per month (last month was 1,200!) This was due to my site being down for maintenance, and lack of regular social posting I believe. Absolutely shocking – I’m embarrassed to share it!
- 4923 followers across social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest) I gained 144 followers which geared me up to improve my postings.
- 98 Newsletter Subscribers (four newbies!)
- 2 Patreons
- $4.00 from Patreon – you can read my article on Patreon here
- £0 Affiliate income
- £0 Product income
- £10 Hosting & Domain (Read ‘How To Start a Blog’ Here)
- £23 Convert Kit Email List Manager
- £6 Gmail Email Manager
- £7 We Blog North Membership
- £15 Protect My Bubble Work Insurance for Computer and iPhone
- £28 Coschedule Account
- $101 TBEX Ostrava Ticket (£80)
- £80 Flights To Prague
- £100 Spending Money
- £150 Accommodation Costs
I was really low on cash this month due to the trip to Prague so Phil lent me £300 money to cover my expenses for accomodation, food and drink while I was away. The trip was totally worth it as I made some incredible contacts that I think will provide me lots of opportunities in the coming months which I will share in my reports.
If you have any questions about my income or expenses, please comment below and I’ll be happy to answer you.
betternotstop August plan
My plan for the upcoming month is to do the following:
Creating more valuable content
Creating good content takes TIME. I will be focusing on continuing my weekly newsletter and publishing weekly articles on Minimalism, Wellbeing, and Work. You can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post.
I want to continue to post my income reports and try and do two more articles to add to the site this month as well. I also want to build engagement across the betternotstop facebook group and social media pages, so that people get more value from following me!
Start a Series of Talks and Workshops
I have been booked in to do two talks in the upcoming months for Bumble Bizz and Float Festival. As well as looking for opportunities to share my talks with existing events and festivals, launching my own events in August will be a great way to network, collaborate and meet new people.
Increase my website visitors to 3,000 per month.
My engagement in the many facebook groups and on social media has been poor and I want to start to feel more inspired by sharing online and giving people a reason to visit the betternotstop site.
Stag and Raven
I spent fifty hours working on Stag & Raven, in addition to working sixteen full days in the shop (which are 10 am – 6 pm) which is a total of 178 hours. This was a huge amount considering I was away for a week, and worked out at three 60 hour work weeks. NOT IDEAL.
The Summer Party I organised for Afflecks was a great success, with an increase in sales by 400% up on Saturday previously thanks to the amount of football we had. I also had a stall at the Northern Quarter Makers Market on the first Sunday of the Month and the new products were really popular!
This month I also focused on building the knowledge and skills I need to run this business. I spent two days at the Google Digitial Garage, which is a free training centre in Manchester City Centre, where I learned more about SEO, Advertising and creating a Digital Marketing Strategy. I attended a half-day training session about the Digital Landscape in Japan and spent the morning with the Departement of Trade and Export on looking at how to expand the reach of Stag and Raven beyond the UK.
- 30 Hours to do lists, organising my time (usually an hour a day)
- 10 Hours at the Google Digital Garage
- 10 Hours of fixing website issues
- 20 Hours on Social Media.
- 20 Hours on general emails
- 6 Hours on general Marketing work
- 10 Hours at the NQ Makers Market.
- 3 Hours on accounts
- 15 Hours organising the Summer Party
- 2 Hours on Advertising
- 5 Hours on Supplier Management.
- 10 Hours in Meetings (including the Department of Trade and Investments)
- 16 days working in the shop
- General retail work
- Shop Refit
- Sorting stock
- Packing orders
- Serving Customers
My stats are now:
- 870 Online Visitors – down nearly 800. This was terrible and I have no idea why it dropped so much.
- 8755 followers across social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest) up 323 followers
- 452 Newsletter Subscribers – up 38.
- £2,030 better than last month, but still low footfall due to weather.
- £262 Online Sales which was down nearly £700 – understandable with the lack of visitors to the site.
The business costs are around £3000 monthly costs (with a £4,500 outstanding loan and £900 Investment)
This covers everything from the shop rent, loan repayments, supplier and wholesale costs, marketing, insurance, accounts, website hosting and maintenance, apps and so on. I had extra costs for the Summer Party (Advertising, Decorations etc) and staffing the shop while I was away for the week.
It also includes a monthly wage of £600 which I struggled to pay myself this month. The footfall in Afflecks has been very low. I decided that a better option for me would be to leave the responsibility of the shop and focus instead on my online sales. This should mean that my overheads are even lower next month, and allows me much more flexibility in how I spend my time.
It was always a long-term plan to be able to make the shop work around my travel so I decided to take the leap. Next month will be the first month without a shop front in two years.
Stag & Raven August plan
Create Sales to £1,500
As last months online sales were so low, this is a bit of a lofty goal, but I need to aim high to cover the costs of running this business. I plan to look at how I can implement my mailing list, as well as social media to increase the traffic to the website.
Book onto upcoming events
The Makers Market was a success so I know that getting my products out to more people is important – so I want to look at what upcoming events in and around Manchester I can attend. I don’t drive and Phil is often away for work, however without a shop front now I need to be more inventive about how people can discover my products.
Expand my Sales Channels
I have the option to build an Etsy Store as well as sell my items on Wayfair and Amazon. I want to set up these sales channels and also create a wholesale catalogue to offer existing shops to sell my products.
I paid myself £600 this month which went on household bills and betternotstop expenses like my trip to the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, I had to borrow some money from Phil to be able to do this. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have this option, and I am very grateful for it.
The trip to the Czech Republic this month could not have come at a better time. I was exhausted and struggling to work out the best way to manage both businesses alongside each other. Making the decision to close the shop and move to a more flexible Studio Space is affording me not only a better work/life balance but allowing me to stay focused on my personal goals.
The way I spend my time in both businesses is so important, especially over the next few months. They need to become sustainable by January 2019 as that is the ‘cut off’ point Phil and I have agreed on before I start to look at other ways to supplement my income.
They also need to create a lifestyle that is manageable. July taught me that I needed to start making smarter decisions on the projects I work on, as well as making sure that my time is spent doing more of what I love.
Meeting people in real life that support your ideas is paramount to creating a successful business and life.
This August has me going to Liverpool to celebrate the Tough Girl Challenges Podcast birthday party, volunteering at the Adventure Travel Film Festival and visiting family across the UK.
If you want to continue to follow my income reports, my journey to creating two sustainable creative businesses, and living an adventurous life, just subscribe below.
Also published on Medium.